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Specialty Gardening: Need ideas for cut flowers to grow in a northern garden

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Forum: Specialty GardeningReplies: 7, Views: 58
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Anchorage, AK
(Zone 3b)

November 9, 2009
9:20 PM

Post #7257070

My zone is 3/4; growing season about mid-may to mid September. I have several peonies in my cutting garden that begin in early July and end by August. I have had, and plan to replant, a clump of native iris which bloom for 2 weeks in June. But these perennials take a lot of space for a short bloom period.
I'm looking for annuals I could grow to get good cut flowers after (and, if possible before) the perennials. I like good sized blooms and long enough stems to make bouquets in vases without a lot of stylized arranging.
If they need starting a month or two ahead of mid-May, I can probably arrange with a local nursery to start a flat of seeds so that I have 4" pot sized plants to set out mid-May.

So, cool temperatures, especially low soil temperature, short season, lots of blooms that live long after cutting.
Any suggestions from those of you who are northern gardeners?

November 12, 2009
12:06 PM

Post #7266327

Sweet Peas would be good as they do better in cool weather.
Perhaps try a package of mixed annuals for one year and then see what does well from that. Snapdragons, cosmos, zinnias, bachelor buttons.
Laurel, DE
(Zone 7a)

November 12, 2009
3:17 PM

Post #7266814

Zinnias would be my suggestion as well. They don't take long from planting to bloom, don't need pampering, are somewhat cold tolerant and have long sturdy stems and colorful big flowers for arranging. Will be watching to see what you come up with.
Anchorage, AK
(Zone 3b)

November 13, 2009
6:34 AM

Post #7269385

I love sweet peas but have never had good results. They do well in some gardens here but seem to need absolutely full sun. I haven't had a full sun fence to grow them on. Do the shorter varieties have long enough stems to make good cut flowers?
Zinnias sounded good until I read, just now, some growing instructions that said they need full sun and warm soil. Our soils are NOT warm. And it said they don't like to be transplanted.
CL Scott in Calgary. What are your summer temps? Does your soil get warm? Do you think cool soils would be OK once they have germinated? Have you transplanted them?
With icy cold soils until early June and end of season normally in September, I can't see seeding them directly into ground.
Snapdragons are great here for bedding for color late in season. They can take surprisingly many and heavy frosts. But they don't seem to grow prolifically enough for me to think of them as a good cutting bed variety.

November 13, 2009
1:14 PM

Post #7269726

Our soil does warm up sometime between April and May. Our last frost comes near the end of May or beginning of June so we have about 90 to 100 growing days.
I have started sweet peas in the garage window and then transplanted them. Most years I would direct seed them into the garden in April or whenever the soil is workable. The garden centres sell sweet peas plants along with bedding out plants. Some of the mid height sweet peas do have longer flower stems. Are there some native wild flowers which could provide either foliage or floral material?
Caroline Zone 3 Calgary

(Zone 5a)

December 26, 2009
12:59 AM

Post #7398337

How about pansys, snapdragons, alysumn. Try maybe the shorter varieties of snaps. Petunias, carnation, dianthus?

Or how about try container gardening? then your not in the dirt, rather on top of it.

Just what are your nurserys and greenhouses offering?
Dolores, CO
(Zone 5b)

January 3, 2010
6:39 AM

Post #7422235

Now I am wondering too! As I've only been in zone 5a (or b... still undecided...) for a year, (from zone 11 in AZ), I am curious to hear what others have to say! Gardening in Alaska must be quite a challenge, and I salute you for doing so!


(Zone 5a)

January 3, 2010
1:24 PM

Post #7422504

Very long days there!

Brenda, you are in my zone. My zone is 5a/5b actually.

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